Reflections with Dr. Wilbert R. Mutoko
2 April 2018
This morning I was thinking about my journey in personal development, and I remembered how many doors I knocked on at a young age, but most doors refused to open. However, with a dogged determination and a never-give-up attitude, by God’s grace, I have managed to develop myself academically and career-wise. Probably you find yourself in an unfavorable situation. Wait. You are not alone. It is never too late to achieve your dreams.
When I was in high school, at Dewedzo Secondary School in rural Rusape, Manicaland, Zimbabwe; my dear father made it very clear that he could not pay for me to go through A-Level: “As you can see, there are five more children behind you and I do not have enough money to pay school fees for you in A-Level because I will be taking care of the other children,” said my father with a no-turning-back kind of emphasis. I obviously did not receive the sad news well. I was such a hard-working boy. I was so focused on my studies such that I came top of my class almost all the time. Now my dreams of becoming somebody in life were fizzling out because there was no money for A-Level!
My father and mother were very loving and caring parents. I will forever be grateful for their sacrifices to raise my siblings and me in hard circumstances. My dad, Mark Tichaona Mutoko is my hero. MHSRIP. He was a hardworking gentleman, the father that any child would love to grow up under. Unfortunately, he was not that educated, hence his career was low status to low-medium status. But he always outdid himself to take care of the family. I salute my dad in absentia. My mum Irene was not educated. She was such a tough, but loving mum; always working diligently alongside my dad to support the family. Amazing mum! God bless my mum, my heroine (I dedicated my PhD thesis to her and my late dad).
Back to my predicament. Thank goodness! One of my wealthy uncles who was a member of parliament and cabinet minister visited our high school and promised that he was going to pay A-Level school fees in full for three or so students that would come out with flying colors at O-Level. Wow! Knowing that I was one of the best students completing O-Level, I knew that I had just gotten A-Level funding right there. What a relief to me and my parents! Finally help had come! But, wait. Not so fast my friend!
My uncle never lived to his promise. Obviously, my dad relaxed, and did not prepare for my A-Level studies. I found a place at Nyatsime College in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe to study for A-Level and I enrolled for first year. However, my uncle continued to promise that he would pay fees. I later realized that the uncle never intended to pay fees for me but to get sponsors. The sponsors were taking their time throughout the year with no action.
My face became very familiar at the Parliament House in Harare where I kept following up my uncle to pay school fees, but all in vain.
Friends, poverty and lack are bad. I suffered! Throughout the year I was being chased away from school for not paying fees. At first, we were many students in the category of ‘owing for school fees’. But after some time, all other students managed to get intervention and their school fees were paid. As for me, it was a painful road. I remembered, at one-time visiting Zimbabwe Council of Churches offices where I got a donation of Z$300. I was so relieved (may God bless Zimbabwe Council of Churches), but the money was insufficient to pay for owed fees at that time. I knocked on all the doors of rich people that I knew, relatives and non-relatives alike. But doors were tightly locked. They gave one excuse after the other.
The following year, I heard that my uncle’s sponsors finally cleared my school fees bill for the year that I had studied first year A-Level. But I had moved on.
Have you ever sought help from everyone and no help comes your way? What do you do when no one is willing to assist you?
When I saw that I had completed first year of A-Level in debt, being chased away from school almost every other day; I told my parents that I needed to stop A-Level schooling. My parents were hurt that our uncle had failed to meet his promise, but there was no choice, except for me to stop school.
I then visited my auntie Mavis who stayed in Marondera, in Dombotombo with her family. I related the story to her and her husband. Immediately, the couple agreed to take me in so that I could complete A-Level in Marondera through night school. My hopes were lit again. At least, I had accommodation. But what about school fees? The fees were much less for evening school at Nyameni High School, but was there any sponsor?
I told my dad, who was already overloaded with taking care of rest of family. Thank God, my dad agreed to borrow money and hustle to pay the school fees. However, I needed money for textbooks also. I went to my former teachers at Dewedzo Secondary School. My former teachers were not able to assist me. But a good Samaritan, Mr. Muronda who was not my former teacher offered to fund me for textbooks for the whole year (may God remember his kindness. I am still looking for him to say thank you).
Going to night school with elderly people was not funny. Imagine you are 18 to 19 years old and you attend school with fathers, mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers! Most of them took time to understand concepts, so teachers had to repeat lessons. Some of them did not attend school regularly … There was no choice. I worked extremely hard and I spend most of my time in the government library, until my auntie Mavis got worried that I was reading too much. She would regularly say, “The way you study is too much. You will end up going mad!” But I was seeing a glorious future. I wanted to turn around a rural life of owning only bicycles instead of cars and properties. I wanted to grow and change my life and that of others. So I kept on studying hard, no girl friends, no love affairs. Serious about school.
Thank God for my dad. He worked extra hard and raised the school fees throughout the year and examination fees (I wish he was alive today to see his boy now a MBA and PhD holder making impact on many lives across the world as an Author, Financial Adviser, Leadership Strategist and International Motivational Speaker, Pastor and Business Doctor).
Unfortunately, Satan decided to make my life more miserable during final year A-Level. Satan struck me with a sickness which no one understood. I went with my parents to all kind of doctors – private doctors, public doctors, witch doctors and prophets, plus many churches; but my condition deteriorated, and I stopped going to school from April 1994 until 17 October 1994. Examinations started on 21 October 1994.
Thank God for my cousin Bethrem and his wife Dorcas (now they are pastors. May God remember their love and kindness) who invited me to Mutare to be prayed for by pastors. When I got there, the pastors helped me to understand scriptures and helped me to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. They then prayed for me and I was instantly healed. Wow! A new life began, and I went back to Marondera to write exams after I had not been going to school nor studying for months. Thus I was healed on 17 October and I started writing examinations three days later. As expected, I could not score enough points to go to varsity. However, I qualified to go to Mutare Teachers College where I trained as a secondary teacher – Geography and Accounts.
My desire was insatiable. After completing the Diploma in Secondary education funded by the government of Zimbabwe in 1998, I went to teach in the rural areas of Hurungwe. I enrolled for Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administrators. A journey of taking myself to school began. I am afraid that this is becoming an article too long. To see what else happened, you can visit my profile:
So, back to you. What is happening to you? Are people refusing to help you? Are you seated at home, not knowing what to to do? Is it that you do not like your current job or business? Are you in a financial mess or relationship mess? Perhaps you need to go back to school. Probably you need to work harder than before. You need to stop blaming government, anyone or any situation. Arise and take your future into your hands.
I wrote this article to encourage you in tough times and to keep focused on what you want to achieve in life. Put your trust in God and be in love with him. It can take time, but do not lose heart. There is a seed of greatness in you. We are waiting for the seed to sprout and grow big. Last of all, after you have made it, remember to help others.